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Inner Wisdom or Inner Critic?

We all have two inner voices that speak to us when we reach a fork in the road. One helps us strive to reach our potential and the other creates an impenetrable force field that hold us back.

Let’s call these voices Inner Wisdom and Inner Critic. Inner Wisdom is the guardian of your values, aspirations, and core beliefs. It is your personal tour guide through life that helps you navigate challenges and important decisions. Inner Critic masquerades as a tour guide, but is really just there to keep you stagnant, insecure and afraid of trying anything new or stepping outside your comfort zone.

Inner Wisdom is invested in helping your grow and evolve. Inner Critic is invested in helping you stay exactly where you are.

The problem is that in moments of indecision, both voices start speaking up and it can be hard to tell them apart. How do you determine who is who? Which voice do you believe?

Let’s say you have created a new business and you are about to launch the website in 24 hours. All the photos and layout have been completed. You’ve hammered out all the bugs for the commerce functionality. It’s go time.

…or is it?

There is a loud voice in your head saying, “Hold off. Let’s wait one more week.”

Is this Inner Wisdom or Inner Critic?

Fear-Based vs. Value-Based

There is no instruction manual, but a great starting point is to determine if the voice is fear-based or value-based. What are the reasons to wait another week?

Responses to this question might sound like this:

“What if people don’t like it?”

“If I don’t launch it now, a competitor might beat me to the punch.”

“I don’t feel ready. Maybe I’ll feel more ready next week.”

Or the responses might sound more like this:

“Clean, clear content is important to me, so I would like to hire a copy editor to review it first.”

“If we push it back a week, we’ll have time to create a social media marketing plan to roll out at the same time.”

“Let’s launch it right away and schedule time every day for the next two weeks to review feedback and troubleshoot any problems that arise.”

The different between the first group and the second group of answers is that the former are fear-based and the latter are value-based. Fear-based thinking tends to be hypothetical and promote inaction. Value-based thinking is usually grounded in reality and promotes action.

Following Inner Wisdom and ignoring Inner Critic takes practice, but a great starting point is to work on simply telling the two apart. Next time an inner voice tells you to do something (or not do something), take a moment to decide if this message is tapping into your fears or your values.

To explore this more deeply, consider schedule a free one-on-one coaching session.

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